2012-10-04 / Local & State

Judge Rejects Plea In Pa. Torture Killing

GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) – A judge has rejected a guilty but mentally ill plea by a man charged in the brutal torture killing of a mentally disabled western Pennsylvania woman.

The Pittsburgh Tribune- Review reports Westmoreland County Judge Rita Hathaway said Friday it would be improper for Rickey Smyrnes to enter that plea then have a jury determine if he should get the death penalty in the February 2010 death of Jennifer Daugherty.

Investigators say Smyrnes and five others tortured Daugherty for more than two days in a dingy Greensburg apartment before killing her and dumping her body. One co-defendant was sentenced to death last month and another to life in prison last year.

Authorities say Daugherty was forced to write a suicide note and drink a cocktail of human waste, bleach and prescription drugs before her death.

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